2022 Summer Fellows Return to the Piedmont

PEC’s Summer Fellowship Program is much more than an internship. It’s an eight-week program that engages college students and graduates in classroom discussions, field trips, and hands-on activities to gain practical knowledge and skills necessary to successfully transition into careers in conservation, urban planning, agriculture, historic preservation, public policy and other related fields.

For the past two years, the pandemic forced the program into the virtual world. But this year’s program went hybrid, bringing together 12 fellows — from Texas to Florida to Ohio to New Hampshire — virtually for six weeks and here in the Virginia Piedmont for two weeks of on-the-ground learning and exploration. PEC staff were happy to once again engage in person with the fellows, who shared some of their reflections with us as they headed home.

a young woman

“It was delightfully unexpected to me how invested everyone at PEC was…how many people wanted to follow up, wanted us to reach out. This program has really exposed me to so many things that I haven’t learned about in the classroom. And I think that’s really valuable for young professionals and college students to see before they make big decisions.”
— Sophie Creager-Roberts, Charlottesville, VA
Syracuse University, ‘24

“This is an amazing program that I don’t think many other organizations offer. I am now going into the world, I think, with a clear mindset of what I want to do with sustainability and with environmental protection. I really appreciated the small scale that PEC really pushed—I learned that you can do a lot just being local.”
— Gabby Jadotte, Miramar, FL
Colorado College, ‘22

a young woman
a young woman

“I think one of the most meaningful things I’ll take away is importance of local, small-scale efforts when it comes to addressing environmental issues—how it’s important to have relationships with community members—and how when it comes to addressing environmental issues, everyone has something to contribute.”
— Elizabeth Hernandez, El Paso, TX
McKenna College, ‘23

“I learned that there are many ways to engage with the environment. And I didn’t realize how much of a role private conservation can play. It challenged my preconception, which I really appreciated, and definitely changed my professional goals in the sense that my horizons have been broadened.”
— Mario Seaman, Chicago, Illinois
Lawrence University, ‘21

This story appeared in The Piedmont Environmental Council’s member newsletter, The Piedmont View. If you’d like to become a PEC member or renew your membership, please visit pecva.org/join.